April 30, 2024

How To Take Care Of A Newborn

How To Take Care Of A Newborn

Embracing parenthood is a heartwarming experience, marked by the indescribable joy of cradling your newborn in your arms. However, it is accompanied by a significant responsibility, because these delicate blessings demand care. Amidst the wonder and love, there exists a nervousness about how to care for a newborn.  

But believe us, parenthood is a skill learned on the job. Whether you are a first-time parent or expanding your family, the initial weeks bring a mix of emotions that range from excitement to uncertainty. Use this guide on how to care for an infant as your companion. Maintain basic hygiene practices when holding your bundle of joy. Remember to always support their soft fragile necks. Because beyond those cuddly coos, you have a responsibility towards your baby - and their care is literally in your hands.

Getting Help After Your Baby Comes Home

As a new mother, you will need help after you bring your bundle of joy home. Here’s what you can do: 

  • Whether it’s just for emotional support or to hold your newborn baby while you take a shower, ask close family members and friends to lend a helping hand.  
  • Join a postpartum support group. Many parents experience the same journey as you and are more than willing to help with valuable advice. 
  • Professionals like doulas and baby nurses can take some load off your shoulders during the initial days. Plus they know how to handle a newborn like a pro! 
  • If you are facing any breastfeeding challenges after coming home, consult a lactation expert.  
  • Cooking for yourself while caring for an infant during the initial weeks is tiring. Consider getting a healthy meal delivered or preparing freezer-friendly meals before your little one arrives. 
  • The responsibility of caring for a newborn is challenging. Speak to your partner, friends, and family about your emotions.  
  • After you've settled your infant at home, take a break occasionally. You can use that time to have a cup of tea or even catch up with friends for a quick bite.

How to Handle a Newborn 

There’s no doubt you’ve been dreaming about your newborn baby for months. And no matter how much you prepare, tips on how to handle an infant will always be welcome - especially if you’re a first-time mom.

  • Support the head: During the first few months, support the baby's head gently on your arm or place your hand behind the neck. 
  • Maintain hygiene: Whether it's you, or any other caregiver in the house, it is important to wash your hands before handling the infant. This reduces the risk of any infections being passed on to the baby. 
  • Hold securely: Maintain a secure grip when lifting or carrying your baby around.
  • Feeding positions: Whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding your little one, support the baby's head with one hand and use the other to hold the breast or bottle. Choose a comfortable and relaxed feeding position for both you and the baby.
  • Burping: Gently hold your baby against your shoulder, or sit them upright and tap the back to help release any gas bubbles.  
  • Babywearing: If you plan to use a baby carrier or sling, ensure your baby is positioned securely with their head supported. 
  • Diaper changes: Newborns might need frequent diaper changes to prevent rashes. So check every hour, and keep the area dry and clean. If you use a changing table, ensure there are safety straps to hold the baby in place. 
  • Soft spots: Did you know those soft spots you see on your infant’s head are called fontanelles? They're very normal, all you have to do is be gentle and avoid putting any pressure on them. 

Every baby is unique, and you will need to adapt your handling techniques based on your baby's preferences and needs. As you spend more time with your baby, you will learn how to look after a newborn comfortably.

Bonding with Your Baby 

Bonding with your baby is a beautiful aspect of parenthood, and building a strong connection in the early months can contribute to your child's emotional and social development.  

  • Engage in plenty of skin-to-skin contact to bond with your baby. It's a great way to soothe a crying baby and boost the milk supply in new mothers.  
  • Use a baby carrier or sling to keep your baby close while you go about your daily activities. This physical closeness will enhance the bond between you and your baby.
  • Make eye contact with your baby, smile, and use expressive facial gestures to communicate love to your infant. In a few months, you’ll see a toothless baby smile back at you! 
  • Gently cuddle your little one, with kisses away from the face to avoid infections. You can also sway or rock them in your arms carefully and watch as they gradually doze off, snugly stuck to you.  
  • Your baby can hear your voice, and they love it because they’ve been listening to you from the tummy. So talk to your baby, sign to them, dance for them - it’s a game-changing bonding experience! 
  • Gently massage your little one using a baby-safe oil or lotion. Not only is it a great relaxing exercise for your baby’s muscles, it promotes a beautiful bonding moment between you and your baby. 
  • Start reading to your little bookworm from an early age. Your calming voice and close physical contact create a positive association with reading.

Soothing your Baby 

Photo by: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

No matter what you read about how to raise a newborn, your baby will cry. It’s normal because they cry as a means of communication. They express needs like hunger, a dirty nappy, tiredness, or simply wanting a cuddle by crying. So, here’s what you can do to soothe your little one: 

  • Pick them up: Hold your baby close in your arms, it provides comforting warmth and security. Gently rock them in your arm, or use a baby carrier or sling if you have to get work done. 
  • Swaddle: Your baby has been swaddled in the womb for nine months, and they love the snug feeling of being held.
  • Sucking: Allow your baby to suck on a pacifier or your breast for comfort and self-soothing.  
  • White noise: You can use white noise machines, fans, and even apps to create a consistent background noise to calm your little one down.
  • Massage and bath: A gentle massage can be very relaxing for your little one. Run a warm bath and gently bathe your baby to calm them down.  
  • Tummy time: Babies love tummy time. Prop them on a comfortable pillow, supervise, and encourage them to lift their head. It will help soothe gassy babies.
  • Feeding: Whether you choose to breastfeed, express and bottle feed, or formula feed, you must feed your infant on demand. Feed your little one, every one to three hours. That is an average of 8 to 12 feedings in 24 hours. Frequent feedings initially can get tiring for you as a new mom, but it will help your newborn regain the weight they lost at birth. And milk is a sure shot way to calm your little one down. 

Diaper Changes for Newborns 

Diaper care is an important responsibility of your daily routine. Frequently check and change their diapers to prevent diaper rash, or give them a diaper-free hour. Use a gentle, fragrance-free baby wipe or a damp cloth to keep the private areas clean and dry. A smidge of diaper cream will soothe any redness, however, you must consult your doctor if the redness persists.  

Always check if the diaper fits your little one properly, it should be snug but not tight.  

Bathing your Newborn 

Photo by: Nihal Karkala on Unsplash

When it comes to full baths, once or twice a week is sufficient for your infant. Daily bathing can strip their baby-soft skin of moisture leading to dryness or eczema. To maintain daily hygiene, until the baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off (5 to 15 days after birth), lay your baby on a changing mat and give warm sponge baths. Try to clean their mouth, neck, and private parts daily.  

Tip: If you see any redness around your baby’s umbilical cord stump, ask your doctor how to care for your newborn’s belly button. 

Sleep Schedule for Newborns 

Your little bundle will sleep approximately 16 to 17 hours a day, with frequent wakes for feeding and changing. While creating a predictable routine for your infant is difficult, you can introduce a bedtime scenario. Everyday basic activities like changing into fresh pajamas, dimming the lights, swaddling, feeding, reading, and singing, work as cues for longer nighttime sleep stretches. 

In conclusion, caring for a newborn is a unique journey that encompasses both the joys and challenges of parenthood. While there is no manual to teach you how to care for a newborn, the commitment to providing love, attention, and meticulous care is a hat you will wear from the day you bring them home. Embrace your responsibility with dedication and adaptability because it is a delight to nurture your precious bundle of joy into a beautiful grown-up.  

And while you focus on their emotional growth, we at Raising Superstars can help you foster their development. Our Prodigy programs have activities for 0-6 years of babies, focusing on enhancing their athleticism skills, intelligence, creativity, moral code, and overall well-being. To boost their unique potential from an early age, contact us. 

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